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July 13 update: Stage 13 is a transition stage as we make our way to the French Pyrénées. Starting from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux in the Drôme department, we'll head south along the Rhône river where the mistrals could wreck havoc on this unassuming, at first glance, flat stage.
The peloton will ride next to a sea wall for the last 30 km so if the mistrals coming down the the Rhône river don't mess with this stage then winds off the Mediterranean could help decide the outcome in Le Cap d’Agde.
Three years ago at the Tour, the first GC shakeout occurred on Stage 4 which finished just east of this finish in La Grande-Motte. Splits in the peloton depleted the field before the sprint finish won by Mark Cavendish, who will be favored for this stage as well. However, this year's stage will likely have a tailwind at the start where as the 2009 stage had a crosswind and we'll have a steep cat 3 climb just 23 km from the finish in Le Cap d’Agde. There should be huge crowds at the finish since we've reached the weekend in vacation country on Bastille Day. — Steve